Video gamers who own an Xbox 360 will now have the option to build families headed by gay and lesbian characters thanks to this week's release of Fable 3 from Lionhead Studios.
Previous games in the groundbreaking Fable series allowed for romances and marriages for same-sex couples to take place, but the third entry has added an in-game adoption agency open to all.
The Fable games have proven to be a big hit for Microsoft as an Xbox exclusive, selling 6.4 million copies worldwide. Set in the mythical world of Albion, the newest game follows a hero of the player's own making who must raise a revolution against your brother, the land's corrupt king. The game also boasts an impressive voice-over cast, including Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, John Cleese, A Single Man's Nicholas Hoult, and out actor Stephen Fry.
Besides their playfully tongue-in-cheek atmosphere and a unique moral system in which a player's choices affect the type of character they become, the Fable series also has the distinction of a progressive and outspoken creative team. As lead designer Josh Atkins put it in a recent interview with AfterEllen's Sarah Warn, "We're enormously proud of the fact that game allows you to be gay, straight, whatever you want to be."
Now with the third game in the series, all players can have children. Studio head Peter Molyneux explained "More and more, there are same-sex couples choosing to have a family, and we just wanted to reflect that in Fable 3... It's a charming thing, having a baby, and we didn't want to exclude gay people from that."
Currently, only a handful of other games allow players the option to be in a relationship with a character of the same sex, including Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and the popular PC series The Sims. Besides the dearth of LGBT storylines, anti-gay language also remains prevalent in many virtual gaming communities. Hopefully, Fable 3 will provide a new aspirational model for LGBT inclusiveness in the ever-expanding video game industry.